Court Summarizes Scope of Judicial Review of NYS Division of Human Rights Determinations; Upholds Dismissal of Hostile Work Environment and Constructive Discharge Claims

One venue available to victims of employment discrimination – including being subjected to a hostile work environment – is to pursue a claim in the New York State Division of Human Rights, an administrative agency that enforces the New York State Human Rights Law. Proceeding in that forum, however, results in a relatively limited range of procedural options.

In Matter of Leippe v. Gerald J. Wilkoff, Inc., 2018 NY Slip Op 00294, 2018 WL 443998 (N.Y. App. Div. 2nd Dept. Jan. 17, 2018), explained:

The scope of judicial review under the Human Rights Law is extremely narrow and is confined to the consideration of whether the determination of the SDHR is supported by substantial evidence in the record (see Rainer N. Mittl, Ophthalmologist, P.C. v. New York State Div. of Human Rights, 100 N.Y.2d 326, 331, 763 N.Y.S.2d 518, 794 N.E.2d 660; Matter of State Div. of Human Rights [Granelle], 70 N.Y.2d 100, 106, 517 N.Y.S.2d 715, 510 N.E.2d 799). Substantial evidence “means such relevant proof as a reasonable mind may accept as adequate to support a conclusion or ultimate fact … More than seeming or imaginary, it is less than a preponderance of the evidence, overwhelming evidence or evidence beyond a reasonable doubt” (300 Gramatan Ave. Assoc. v. State Div. of Human Rights, 45 N.Y.2d 176, 180–181, 408 N.Y.S.2d 54, 379 N.E.2d 1183 [citations omitted]; see Matter of Briggs v. New York State Div. of Human Rights, 142 A.D.3d 663, 664, 36 N.Y.S.3d 729). “Courts may not weigh the evidence or reject [the SDHR’s] determination where the evidence is conflicting and room for choice exists[.]

Applying the law,[1]Unfortunately, the court did not provide a summary or overview of the actual facts of the case. the court held that “there is substantial evidence in the record to support the Commissioner’s determination that the petitioner was not subjected to a hostile work environment or constructively discharged because of her sex.”

1 Unfortunately, the court did not provide a summary or overview of the actual facts of the case.
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